Harvest aims to be more open in its latest annual report

The cover of The Harvest Foundation’s annual report for 2006 shows area residents coloring a banner that depicts area attractions

December 4, 2007

By AMANDA BUCK - Bulletin Staff Writer

In keeping with its pledge to become more open about its work, The Harvest Foundation has included information on grant recipients, program updates and financial information in its latest annual report.

"It was a concept I wanted the board to participate in and see the benefit of doing this," said Rich Killingsworth, who became executive director of the five-year-old foundation in February. "What it does show very boldly is that we're doing exceptional work here in the area."

Harvest, which was formed in 2002 with proceeds from the sale of Memorial Hospital in Martinsville, funds initiatives in health, welfare and education.

The 2006 report, distributed this fall, reviews the foundation's work for the year and offers comments from residents about Harvest-funded programs. Updates on the foundation's largest initiatives -- the Coalition for Health and Wellness, the New College Institute, and the soccer complex and uptown arena -- are included, as are updates on other grant recipients.

The report includes photos of area residents coloring a tapestry that depicts area attractions, such as the Martinsville Speedway, Patrick Henry Community College and the Smith River.

The report's theme is "Envision Tomorrow Today," which is what Harvest officials hope their work will help people do, Killingsworth said.

The report "include(s) inspired visions of exciting possibilities for this area and how people are bringing them to life," Marshall Stowe, president of the organization's board, stated in the report.

It came out later in the year than usual because of Harvest's decision to be more open about the foundation's work, Killingsworth said.

"There are dramatic differences between the earlier annual reports and this one," he said. "The main theme is the direction this foundation wants to lead this community."

Harvest's goal is to make Henry County and Martinsville a "community of choice." That kind of community is one people want to live in or visit, Killingsworth said. Healthy lifestyles, educational achievement and economic prosperity also are fostered there, the report says.

Two programs that have received Harvest grants are highlighted in each of the foundation's grant categories: health, education and welfare. A representative of each group describes how that organization has used Harvest funding.

For example, under the welfare category, Susan McCulloch of the Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association talks about improvements that group has made to the uptown Farmers' Market.

Once a month, MURA brings in a local chef who shares healthy recipes, and musicians perform at the market. The Virginia Museum of Natural History offers educational activities every week, and the market's Saturday hours have been changed.

The changes have led to increased attendance and interest in the market, McCulloch writes.

In addition to financial information, all of the grants awarded in 2006 are listed and described.

The report soon will be available for download on Harvest's Web site, Killingsworth said. The site will be relaunched around the first of the year and should be easier to navigate and offer more content, he added.


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